Everything you need to know about professional credentialing

What is professional credentialing and why is it important in every field?


The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) and The International Society of Sustainable Professionals (ISSP) work hard to make sure every individual is informed and armed to successfully lead, design, implement and support climate change and/or sustainability initiatives in their workplace. Being recognized as leaders, experts and qualified professionals is critical to getting to hired, and critical to their success as change agents in the workplace. Professional credentialing is a key pillar in supporting and driving that recognition.

Both ACCO and ISSP have developed extensive credentialing programs supported by online study resources, in-person training and access to a wealth of resources and community of members that makes being an expert and leader of sustainable practices and climate action possible.

Here’s a summary of each organization’s existing credentials:

Through ACCO, you can

Become a Certified Climate Change Professional® (CC-P®). The Certified Climate Change Professional® (CC-P®) is the credential for mid-level practitioners. It reflects your dedication to professional development and your competency in the fundamentals of climate change preparedness and strategic planning in your field.  A combination of related work experience and completion of a series of core curriculum courses and elective requirements - online and during workshop-style, in-person events - is required to become a (CC-P®). The Certified Climate Change Professional® (CC-P®) credential is currently available for practitioners across all sectors and professional functions. ACCO will announce additional credentials in the near future.

Through ISSP, you can

Become an ISSP Sustainability Associate (for individuals who are new to sustainability or those in allied professions such as purchasing, HR,  and facilities management who incorporate sustainability thinking into their work) and then progress to a ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (for veteran sustainability professionals with five or more years of experience working in the sustainability field).  Earning an ISSP credential opens up career opportunities for sustainability professionals and also helps businesses and organizations find the best members of the field. To obtain an ISSP credential, you must pass a proctored, multiple choice exam at local testing centers or online for your convenience.  

How will getting credentialed help me become a better climate change or sustainability professional?


ACCO and ISSP credentialing focuses upon your ability to understand the most relevant and pressing climate change and sustainability problems facing our professional lives every day. The education and training materials that both organizations provide ensure that you are ready, willing and able to lead and support climate change and sustainability initiatives in the public, private and non-profit sectors. The testing and qualifications needed to earn your credential are an important trial to help you along your journey and will equip you to face the questions and challenges you may face in the workplace as an agent of change.

Taking sensible and effective climate action and achieving your career aspirations, and your organization’s climate change and sustainable development goals, requires developing a system of thinking that enables you and your fellow professionals to forecast plausible scenarios, understand their implications and take bold action.

Become a leader in your field


One of the most important factors of both ACCO and ISSP’s credentialing programs is the ability to not only see and understand risks and opportunities, but to be a driven leader with the leadership and management skills critical to successful transformation and implementation. Not only will professional credentialing give you the confidence and skills to identify the challenge, but will give you the stature and recognition as a leader and an expert that:

  • Understands and can communicate climate change and sustainability related topics to diverse audiences;

  • Current on the most current issues, tools, policies and techniques related to your field of practice;

  • Applies systems thinking in developing climate change and/or sustainability solutions; and

  • Plans, implements and evaluates the integration of climate change and/or sustainability into your organizational culture, processes, programs and results.

How does it work?

Your first step is to examine your eligibility and the program requirements:

Your next step is to register for training and testing access:

Once you’re ready to begin your training, either find an in-person event or workshop near you or consult the available online study resources and begin preparing for your exams. Starting your path to becoming a credentialed professional is simple, and it starts with a commitment to complete the process one step at a time.

BONUS: ACCO and ISSP have some of the most diverse, skilled, high-level members making up their communities. When you decide to take part in a professional credentialing program, you get access to plenty of useful resources but you also have the opportunity to meet and work with an immeasurably advantageous community of members. Learn with them and from them to continue your training, even after your credentialing is complete.

It’s never too late to gain a professional credentialing and open up doors in your own career and in the work of your peers.

Why is professional credentialing important for you?

Beyond your desire to be a more effective practitioner and to take decisive action to advance your career path, a professional credential shows employers, clients, and peers that you are recognized by a credible standard-bearer as a qualified professional and serious about your work. A professional credential is a stamp of excellence that can help you get hired and earn more in any position.

From a business perspective, look for professionals with a credentialing certification to be sure that your hire is qualified, serious and will achieve success.

Professional credentialing goes beyond just one position and just one sector. Become an ACCO or ISSP (or both!) certified professional to see a dramatic difference in your career and your organization’s climate change and sustainability journey.

Ready to become certified? Register for ACCO credentialing here or ISSP credentialing here.